Recent studies revealed that many animals identify individual humans. In this account, we review previous literatures on individual human recognition by wild or domestic animals and discuss the three hypotheses: “high cognitive abilities” hypothesis, “close human contact” and “pre-exposure to stimuli” hypothesis. The three hypotheses are not mutually exclusive. Close human contact hypothesis is an ultimate explanation for adaptive benefits whereas high cognitive abilities and pre-exposure to stimuli hypothesis are proximate explanations for mechanisms to perform such discriminatory behaviour. We report a case study of two bird species in a human-free habitat. Long-tailed skuas, which are known for having high cognitive abilities, exhibited the human discriminatory abilities whereas ruddy turnstones did not display such abilities toward approaching humans. This suggests that highly intelligent species may have this type of discriminatory ability so that they could learn to identify individual humans quickly by pre-exposure to stimuli, even in a human-free habitat. Here, we discuss that human recognition is more common in species with rapid learning ability and it could develop for a short period of time between an intelligent species and human.
Ecological communities adapt the concept of informatics in the late 20 century and develop rapidly in the early 21 century to form Ecoinformatics as the new approach of ecological research. The new approach takes into account the data-intensive nature of ecology, the precious information content of ecological data, and the growing capacity of computational technology to leverage complex data as well as the critical need for informing sustainable management of complex ecosystems. It comprehends techniques for data management, data analysis, synthesis, and forecasting on ecological research. The present paper attempts to review the development history, studies and application cases of ecoinformatics in ecological research especially on Long Term Ecological Research (LTER). From the applications show that the ecoinformatics approach and management system have formed a new paradigm in ecological research
Many areas of vegetation in the British uplands have reduced species diversity as a result of sheep overgrazing. It has been suggested that abandonment or re-wilding strategies might be used to reverse this. A likely first step would be the removal or reduction of grazing livestock from upland areas, with a presumption that this would lead to a recovery in species richness. However, we do not know if this would work, or the timescales involved. One of the important areas where more knowledge is needed is information on the size and composition of soil seedbanks as regeneration from zseed is a likely pathway of recovery. Here, we compared seedbanks in both grazed and ungrazed plots in five experiments at Moor House NNR in the northern Pennines; these sheep grazing exclusion experiments were started 52 and 63/64 years ago. Soil samples (n=10) were collected from both grazed and ungrazed plots in each experiment, and seed emergence counted in glasshouse trials. We detected only seeds of common species and very few dicotyledonous species. This suggests that the soil seedbank is unlikely to be a reliable source of the less common species for ecological restoration in these upland communities, suggesting an extinction debt. Therefore, seed addition and the creation of suitable safe-sites for germination may be needed in conjunction with grazing controls to allow the establishment of plants that will increase the species richness of the vegetation. However, this interventionist restoration approach remains to be tested.
The rapid development of technologies in unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) has led to their use in various areas. UAVs are mainly used for commercial purposes, but their utilization is increasingly important in other areas because their operation cost is less than satellites and aerial imaging. The utilization of UAVs in the environment/ecology area is relatively new. Therefore, identifying the trends of UAV-related spatial information is significant in basic research for UAV utilization. This study quantitatively identified domestic and international research trends related to UAV utilization and analyzed research areas. An attempt was also made to identify upcoming UAV-related topics in the environment/ecology research field using text mining to analyze the bibliographic information of global research literature. Domestic UAV-related studies were classified into seven clusters where basic research on “UAV technology/industry trends” was abundant, and studies on data collection and analysis through UAV remote sensing technology have increased since 2015. Eight clusters were identified for international studies where the most active research area international was “remote sensing technology/data analysis”. In addition, Canopy, Classification, Forest, Leaf Area Index, Normalized Difference Vegetation Index, Temperature, Tree, and Atmosphere appeared as the main keywords related to environment and ecology. The appearance frequencies and association strengths were high because the advancement in UAV optical sensor technology and the rapid development of image processing technology enabled the acquisition of data that could not be obtained from existing spatial information. They are recognized as future research topics as related domestic studies have begun corresponding to international research.
Ground beetle fauna of Wangpi-cheon watershed in Yeongyang-gun to Uljin-gun, Gyeongsangbuk-do was investigated from May to October in 2012. Ground beetles were collected by pitfall trapping. A total of 38 species of 20 genera belonging to 8 subfamilies were identified from 2,486 collected ground beetles. Species richness was high in Pterostichinae (16 species), Carabinae (8 species), Harpalinae (5 species), Callistinae (3 species), Nebriinae (3 species) and others (1 species). Dominant species were Synuchus cycloderus (1,025 individuals) and Aulonocarabus seishinensis seishinensis (332 individuals), Pristosia vigil (133 individuals), and Coptolabrus smaragdinus branickii (117 individuals) in order. Monthly changes in abundance of upper dominante genera Pterostichus, Aulonocarabus, Coptolabrus species and Synuchus, Pristosia, Colpodes species showed that the former had the highest number in August whereas the latter increased in June and September. The genus Pterostichus species were preferred in deciduous forest in Wangpicheon watershed, while the genus Synuchus species were collected in mixes forest adjacent to farmland and recreation facilities and the genera Chlaenius, Harpalus species were collected in mixes forest adjacent to farmland nearby stream. Non-metric multidimensional scaling (NMDS), ground beetles and sites could be divided into two distinct groups: St. 1, St. 2, St. 3 group and St. 4 group. Some species such as Pterostichus orientalis orientalis, P. vicinus and P. bellatrix were particularly abundant at St. 4.
Bacterial symbionts are common across insects, including ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Reproduction-manipulating endosymbionts, such as Wolbachia, Spiroplasma, Rickettsia, and Cardinium, are closely associated with many aspects of host-insect life. In addition, phage WO plays an essential role in the phenotypic effects of Wolbachia. Although endosymbionts are possible biological control agents, there is a lack of knowledge of their rate of infection of ants in Korea. We tested a range of Korean ant species for the presence of Wolbachia, Spiroplasma, Rickettsia, Cardinium, and phage WO by extracting DNA from the ants and using specific primer sets to test the status of infections. In addition, the mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase I (COI) gene of the host ants was amplified to confirm the molecular identification and phylogenetic relationship between the hosts. We found that infection with Wolbachia (29.6% of species) is relatively common when compared with that of other endosymbionts. Only one species was infected with Spiroplasma. Infection with Rickettsia and Cardinium was not detected in the examined ants. Most Wolbachia in ants were infected with phage WO. Although the phenotypic effects of endosymbionts in ants are still unknown, this first survey of endosymbionts in Korea is the first step toward the use of reproduction-manipulating endosymbionts.
Terrestrial ecosystems influence climate change via their climate regulation function, which is manifested within the carbon, water, and energy circulation between the atmosphere and surface. However, it has been challenging to quantify the climate regulation of terrestrial ecosystems and identify its regional distribution, which provides useful information for establishing regional climate-mitigation plans as well as facilitates better understanding of the interactions between the climate and land processes. In this study, a land surface model (LSM) that represents the land-atmosphere interactions and plant phenological variations was introduced to assess the contributions of terrestrial ecosystems to atmospheric warming or cooling effects over East Asia over the last half century. Three main climate-regulating components were simulated: net radiation flux, carbon exchange, and moisture flux at the surface. Then, the contribution of each component to the atmospheric warming or cooling (negative or positive feedback to the atmosphere, respectively) was investigated. The results showed that the terrestrial ecosystem over the Siberian region has shown a relatively large increase in positive feedback due to the enhancement of biogeochemical processes, indicating an offset effect to delay global warming. Meanwhile, the Gobi Desert shows different regional variations: increase in positive feedback in its southern part but increase in negative one in its eastern part, which implies the eastward movements of desert areas. As such, even though the LSM has limitations, this model approach to quantify the climate regulation is useful to extract the relevant characteristics in its spatio-temporal variations.
Korean fir (Abies koreana) is an evergreen coniferous tree species that is unique to South Korea. A. koreana is found in a limited sub-alpine habitat and is considered particularly vulnerable to climate change. Identification of populations vulnerable to climate change is an important component of conservation programs. In this study, a heat stress-induced transcriptome RNA-seq dataset was used to identify a subset of six genes for assessment as candidate marker genes for ecologically vulnerable populations. Samples of A. koreana were isolated from ecologically stable and vulnerable regions of the Halla and Jiri mountains, and the expression levels of the six candidate markers were assessed using quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction. All six of the candidate genes exhibited higher expression levels in samples from vulnerable regions compared with stable regions. These results confirm that the six high temperature-induced genes can be used as diagnostic markers for the identification of populations of A. koreana that are experiencing stress due to the effects of climate change.
Predictions of suitable habitat areas can provide important information pertaining to the risk assessment and management of alien plants at early stage of their establishment. Here, we predict the invasion potential of Muhlenbergia capillaris (pink muhly) in South Korea using five bioclimatic variables. We adopt four models (generalized linear model, generalized additive model, random forest (RF), and artificial neural network) for projection based on 630 presence and 600 pseudo-absence data points. The RF model yielded the highest performance. The presence probability of M. capillaris was highest within an annual temperature range of 12 to 24°C and with precipitation from 800 to 1,300 mm. The occurrence of M. capillaris was positively associated with the precipitation of the driest quarter. The projection map showed that suitable areas for M. capillaris are mainly concentrated in the southern coastal regions of South Korea, where temperatures and precipitation are higher than in other regions, especially in the winter season. We can conclude that M. capillaris is not considered to be invasive based on a habitat suitability map. However, there is a possibility that rising temperatures and increasing precipitation levels in winter can accelerate the expansion of this plant on the Korean Peninsula.
Methods for detecting the presence of genetically modified (GM) crops are evolving to comply with legislation and to enhance monitoring by biotechnology companies and regulators. In order to cover a broad range of detection methods for a new GM crop, conventional multiplex PCR methods are required. Based on the genetic information on three GM alfalfa varieties (J101, J163, and KK179), which were recently approved in South Korea, we developed a fast, reliable, and highly specific multiplex polymerase chain reaction (PCR) method with basic PCR equipment and inexpensive reagents. To validate and verify the newly developed multiplex PCR method, we applied a limit of detection assay and random reference material analysis. We also monitored the unintentional environmental release of GM alfalfa in South Korea by performing the multiplex PCR analysis with 91 feral alfalfa specimens collected from 2000 to 2018. Our methodology is a sensitive, simple, quick, and inexpensive tool for detecting and identifying three GM alfalfa varieties.